VA’s claims process has undergone a tremendous positive evolution over the past eight years. It is now a ‘paperless’ system thanks to the Veterans Benefits Management System and the digitally based National Work Queue system. This evolution, led by VA’s dedicated claims teams across the country, resulted in a claims backlog of over 600,000 claims in 2012 fall below 100,000 by 2017.

VA defines backlog as the number of claims pending over 125 days.

Two events have occurred that will, however, result in significant claims backlog increases in the near term.

First, unprecedented claims processing delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a current claims backlog of approximately 180,000, more than double its pre-COVID-19 backlog levels. After in-person work restrictions at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) caused a significant growth in the number of outstanding requests for military records, VA collaborated closely with (and continues to collaborate with) NARA to retrieve and scan records into VA’s electronic claims processing system.  Mitigating these COVID delays will take more time.

Second, VA is beginning to now process claims related to two significant benefits changes for Veterans enacted by law and expect these new processes have an impact on VA’s ability to deliver benefits within 125 days.

The Blue Water Navy Act of 2019 expanded the definition of qualifying service for Agent Orange exposure, allowing more Veterans to potentially receive compensation benefits for Agent Orange-related disabilities. VA is in process of reviewing these claims and expects around 40,000 additional claims to roll into the backlog on Aug. 29, 2021.

Additionally, the William M. Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2021 (Public Law 116-283) added three conditions to the list of those presumptively associated with exposure to Agent Orange. Those three are bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, and Parkinsonism.

Vietnam Veterans and their survivors, who previously filed and were denied compensation benefits for one of the three new presumptive conditions, will have their cases automatically reviewed without the need to refile a claim. VA is in process of reviewing these claims and expects around 70,000 additional claims to roll into the backlog on Oct. 24, 2021.

VA continues to process claims as expeditiously as possible. In addition to the implementation of the administration’s mandates for vaccines and expanded testing, VA, their exam providers, and NARA records staff are applying appropriate safeguards to ensure safety, while also working to expedite benefits decisions for Veterans and their families. VA is committed to breaking this projected backlog and working to get Veterans their benefits they have earned and deserve in a timely manner.

More information

For more information on how to file a VA disability claim click here.

For more information on Veterans Benefits Administration reports, click here.

The last part of this series focuses on resources available for PTSD. While this series focused on Afghanistan, options apply to all Vets.Afghanistan: Resources available for PTSD
On this episode of Borne the Battle, Army Veteran Tommy Davis shares his story about military service, then work in the video game industry.Borne the Battle #254: Army Veteran Tommy Davis, Video Game Q/A, Zenimax Media, Elder Scrolls Online

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18 Comments

  1. Joe September 7, 2021 at 11:32 am

    Roger, meet up with your CVSO, if your state has them. That is the best SME you can use. ELSE, get represented by the VFW or American Legion for claims assistance. You dont need to be a member of the orgs to get claims help. they are paid for by federal dollars based on claims handled. If you call the VA Regional Office, NOT HEALTHCARE, but call the regional office and ask to be transferred to one of the VSO’s, they will transfer you. Then ask the VSO for claims representation. They will send you a VA form 21-22 that you will need to fill out and sign. Once they have that, they can access your VBA file (BENEFITS) and be able to see what is going on and advise you as to what to do next. If you are doing this on your own, they you wont win. Get FREE help. For CVSO’s, follow this link, select your state, then county. If you state has CVSO’s, their contact will be listed: https://www.nacvso.org/directory/directory_5.aspx for the VA Regional offices, follow this link and select your state. https://www.benefits.va.gov/benefits/offices.asp USE a CVSO first, if you have them, if not, contact the Regional office and ask for the VFW, Legion or DAV and use them for claims help. NEVER PAY FOR CLAIMS ASSISTANCE. I am a CVSO in Wisconsin and promise you, get the assistance else you will just continue to struggle like you are.

  2. Tony September 7, 2021 at 2:27 am

    The VA’s disregard of following law enacted by Congress: The Brian Talley Act requires the VA to inform the complaintant of a FTCA claim, the employment status of those involved in complaint within 30 days

    The VA has dropped the ball in regards to this issue. Now the VA will be held liable if the person involved in complaint is a contractor,(not a VA employee), if the statue of limitations runs out to file a lawsuit against contractor.

    This law eradicates VA’s position on not being held liable for not notifying claimant in a timely manner. Many veterans/claimants have suffered circumstances of malpractice, and could not take legal recourse because the VA notification came after the statute of limitations ran out…..%uat was VA”s loophole to protect the contractor without assuming liability themselves…..

    THOSE DAYS ATE OVER

  3. Patrick Bryan September 4, 2021 at 12:55 pm

    You wrong here, I have been through 4 BVA hearing over the last 10 years, same old thing, I had my last hearing before a 3 Judge panel, an guess what, REMAND REMAND, issues that were remand in 2012 and 2018 were REMAND again. They even “ASSUMED” i didn’t personally appear for a private C&P Exam given to me by one of the best, Military Trained PTAD/TBI Dr’s in this country. She is furious now, with just cause, they have even now called both me and my mother, who testified before this 3 Judge panel, liars!!! Whit this new REMAND order it can take 2 to 5 years just doe the AMC and or RO to answer the order, and then send it back to the BVA, then it can take 1 to 4 years for the BVA to answer it after that. I was granted expedited treatment back in 2011, but where is it?? It doesn’t exist, does it?? What it all boils down to is I an ENTITLEDE to a proper and fair rating, with the proper and fair backdates acknowledged. The BVA and the VBA is doing everything it can to keep my appeal from moving forward to the Veterans Court!! WHY?? It over the BACKPAY issue, that’s why. It is what is called, deny deny, remand remand, till the Veteran DIES!!! You can ignore the law at will and do as you please. You are the main cause that 17 to 22 Veterans a day take their lives, I will stand up and fight you all the back to the U.S. Suprem Court if needed, a I have had it htere before on a Writ of Mandamus, to get my appeal moving forward, and will surly do it again. I hope the DOJ Atty, that represents you again lies to a Federal Court, and get caught at it!!! No Veteran in this country deserves to be treated as I have!!!!

  4. BGK September 3, 2021 at 7:27 pm

    Got a rating and filed an appeal…been 400 plus days waiting on a hearing…unofficial word is the VA is hoping the vets keep their mortuary appointment so they don’t have to mess with us.

  5. Harold Adams September 3, 2021 at 11:45 am

    I spent 66 days in a Veterans Affairs Medical Center having been sent for PTSD. I was diagnosed by the va as it being severe. I was mis labeled as being sent there cause of homelessness, denied the temporary 100%. When I filed for it to corrected I was told that it could take years. Fought the enemy in Vietnam and my government at home. Shameful

  6. Mark Alan Forbes September 2, 2021 at 6:01 pm

    Could you publish a page with the diagnoses AO can be considered SC for?

  7. Jacqueline M Carlisle September 2, 2021 at 3:52 pm

    My mother is still awaiting survivor spousal benefit. My dad passed away almost 2 years now which means she lost his VA monthly income. It is shameless that she now lives under the poverty level and awaiting her monies that she is due from my father. It will be almost two years since she filed a claim after my dad passed away.

  8. Lawrence A. Dellaposta September 2, 2021 at 9:38 am

    Served in Guam 1967-68 as a Security Dog Handler, was denied AO and now at 75 starting hand tremors and have diabetes.

  9. Tammy September 2, 2021 at 9:35 am

    Bruce and Rodger I took my husband to a VA hospital there is a separate office there with volunteers (Veterans) that helped us with paperwork and told us how the mess works ….. documentation is KEY we need written statements from our grown children as what the witnessed (after their Dad came back from Desert Storm) I had to write and extensive letter he had to be seen by VA Drs and civilian ones and this was 4 years ago befor the scam demic they want yall to give up I too started a claim in the 90’s and have proof I was told when he got 60% they would never go back that far I did due diligence but the Government is the Government!!! Try VFW and the like there are people that will help you through the red tape he qualifies for the newest one becuse his sinus’ have been messed up for years but I don’t know how long of my grunt work it will take ‍♀️‍♀️‍♀️ He deserves it so I’ll do it thank ALL of y’all for your service Blessings!!!!

  10. Phillip Weary September 2, 2021 at 7:37 am

    We shall see, its was the VA which told the Higher Court that all Legacy Appeals would be finish by the end of Calendar Year 2022.

    • Patrick Bryan September 4, 2021 at 12:58 pm

      With most just being REMANDED at taken out and off the BVA docket, ok, that’s the problem, they just did it to me now, all my issues on appeal were REMANDED, ok

  11. Steven Burley September 1, 2021 at 10:43 pm

    is this normal?
    Disability compensation appeal updated on September 26, 2019
    Status: You’re waiting for your hearing to be scheduled

    Issues on appeal: Sciatic nerve paralysis and 3 others

    Submitted on: September 26, 2019

  12. Dan Niezgodzki September 1, 2021 at 9:58 pm

    I have filed many times since the 90’s. 4 of 5 symptoms. Nothing. Just waiting till I die. Thanks for nothing.

  13. Dan Carroll September 1, 2021 at 9:46 pm

    COVID-19 is only your latest excuse for your ineptitude and failure to care for U.S. Veterans. You are a disgrace.

  14. Francis R Scavone September 1, 2021 at 8:29 pm

    Thanks for the Heads up and hope all goes well for all of us as things go on.

  15. Bruce I trice September 1, 2021 at 8:26 pm

    What else do i need to do to forward my claim

  16. Bruce I trice September 1, 2021 at 8:24 pm

    I need help!! Thanks

  17. rodger amrhein September 1, 2021 at 6:24 pm

    I have put in my claim over a year ago and have not heard anything, could you please help.?

Comments are closed.

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